By Abby Crouch
This February, the world’s influential youth gathered at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York City with a panel of experts to discuss the refugee crisis, sustainable development, and climate change. These delegates were a selected few college or graduate students, and among this select few was a boy. He wore a tight, tan, knee length dress and stood to talk. As he spoke his shoulders lay back and he held his head high. This is Nam Nguyen of New Mexico. He was the only high school student invited to the assembly. He knew exactly who he was and he was proud. This is pride.
Nam Nguyen attends Saint Pius X High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Although being a gay student at a catholic school isn’t easy, when he came out to his peers about his sexuality during freshman year, Nguyen was accepted fully by his teachers and friends. Still, Nguyen has not told his family. “They don’t support me and celebrate my accomplishments with me, and they will not see my sexuality as a good thing,” he said.
Nguyen’s accomplishments would be impressive even for a graduate student, but as a 17 year old, it’s stellar. He works as a delegate with the UN, interns for Wall Street and The Canadian Center For the Responsibility Project, and is the New Mexico DECA vice president of community service. Not to mention, Nguyen has already received job offers from Google, Microsoft, and Apple for his work developing countries in Africa.
Nam Nguyen is an open gay man in the United States, and he is succeeding. “It’s so hard for some of us in the community to even accept ourselves. I would want the world to know that we’re just people learning to live and be proud of who we are,” said Nguyen. When asked why he was at the UN assembly, he said “I was there representing myself.”
Nam Nguyen is an inspiration to the entire LGBT community, and those who have felt like they can’t be who they are and live a happy, successful life. He is proof that they can.